‘FIFA Leaks are weak, have no effect on Africa’s support for Infantino’
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick yesterday dismissed as of no effect the recent Football Leaks in which some hackers have been releasing documents from the private and official emails of members of the FIFA executive. Pinnick said the hackers were out to embarrass the world football body and also damage the reputation of its principal officers.He said, “The Leaks are hopelessly weak and theydo not affect the fact that Africa sticks with Gianni.
“The entire NFF Executive Committee including myself remain avowed loyalists of Mr. Infantino and we will continue to give him support.“For us, the hawkers of these weak leaks are thoroughbred blackmailers whose objective is to try and smear the reputation of persons who are working so hard and diligently to reposition FIFA. Over the past three years, FIFA has embarked on a worthwhile journey to regain its integrity and credibility, and the works of the President, Mr. Gianni Infantino and the Secretary General, Ms. Fatma Samoura, are outstanding in this regard.”
Pinnick described FIFA as “Financially, socially and transparent organization, adding, “FIFA has turned the positive corner from the crisis and credibility deficits of 2015. We now have a FIFA that is truly global in outlook and pursuing the interests of all six Confederations and 211 Member Associations without any fear or favour. Some persons are definitely not happy about that.”
He insisted that Infantino and the FIFA administration were committed to projects and programmes that impact positively on the game worldwide, adding that the hackers were disgruntled elements with nothing else to do other than attack the integrity of the world body.
“Nigeria and – I have good reason to believe – the whole of Africa is not bothered by whatever the haters have. We stick with Mr. Infantino and the current administration at FIFA. When Mr. Infantino came into office, he opened all the windows to inclusiveness, diversity and true development across board.
“Today, there are six female members of the FIFA Council and 39 women in the Council and different committees. The FIFA Administration is composed of 45 per cent women and is headed by a glorious and highly –qualified African in Ms. Fatma Samoura.
“There are plans for a 48–team FIFA World Cup that will see more of the smaller countries enjoying the limelight and financial benefits of playing at that highest level, and that could happen as early as Qatar 2022. FIFA’s financial situation has improved from the extreme low of $930 million during the 2015 crisis to about $6 billion in the current cycle.
“As a body committed to harvesting the best for its people, CAF strongly aligns with Mr. Infantino’s vision for the 48 –team World Cup, as well as the plans for a World Nations League and an expanded FIFA Club World Cup, which all means more money for development, particularly in our developing climes. With Mr. Infantino, Ms. Samoura and the current administration, Africa (including our country Nigeria) is guaranteed meaningful growth at a great pace, which is something some persons and groups are pretty scared of.”
He described the current FIFA leadership as the most open in the history of the body, pointing at ‘heartwarming developments in ethics, human rights and unheard –of disclosures of compensation to persons in FIFA administration as further reasons for Nigeria to dig its feet in the ground in support of the Infantino team.”
He added: “For us at the NFF, we have only one mind and that is to support Infantino and his team all the way. That is what is in the best interest of world football; that what is in the best interest of African Football and; that is what is in the best interest of Nigerian Football.”